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Open Handset Alliance gets 14 new members

Posted: 12 Dec 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Android  Symbian  OS  smartphone 

However, according to Adam Leach, principal analyst at consultancy Ovum, LiMo is currently lacking a convincing developer story; an SDK is due this year, although it is now more likely to be delivered next year.

Leach adds that while Vodafone sees it as strategically important to have a platform for its own applications and services which is not owned by a potential competitor, it does not believe that LiMo will impact business during 2009. However, Android is in a better position to impact sales next year.

"There is a strong rationale for this; there is a plethora of OEMs committed to making Android devices next year, and Vodafone will be able to take its pick of those OEMs and potentially launch an exclusive device for its network (and hopefully repeat T-Mobile's success with the G1). To achieve a fast time to market Vodafone will have to make some sacrifices; namely, it will have to provide access to Google's services via the default set of Android applications," notes the Ovum analyst.

The open source licensing terms of Android suggest that Vodafone could remove these applications and launch handsets with its own customised applications to access Vodafone services. It is unlikely that a device launched next year would be completely customised due to the time it would take, but beyond this timeframe we can expect customised handsets from Vodafone using Android, suggests Leach.

Meanwhile, he notes that joining the OHA is a strong signal that Sony Ericsson is comfortable that it has the ability and the freedom to use Android to deploy its own applications and services, and that Android is not just a vehicle for Google.

Google and its OHA partners seem to be seizing the opportunity to build critical a mass of supporting handsets during 2009. If it achieves this momentum in the handset market in 2009, then it has the potential to challenge Nokia and the Symbian Foundation for dominance in the handset software market.

In addition, collaboration between Vodafone and OHA could lead to Android runtime running on LiMo-compliant handsets (as they are both built on Linux and share other common components). Such a move would reduce fragmentation within the mobile Linux community and help stimulate the developer community, which would benefit all OHA members and the wider mobile community.

-John Walko
EE Times Europe

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